How To Build More Resilience
There is a lot to feel uneasy about these days. Negative news, higher grocery and gas prices, pending election results, and climate-related events. Along with this comes the perpetual feeling that we will miss something if we are not watching on social media or plugged in at all times. It's all that messaging, a barrage of noise and visuals that keep us in a stressed state of anxiety, perpetual unease, apathy, and depression.
One of the most prevailing moods is the feeling of anxiety.
What is anxiety? Anxiety is the anticipation of future threats and is the most prevalent debilitating mental health condition today. The constant state of emotional and mental unease impacts daily functioning and well-being.[1,2,3 ] According to Dr. Ester Steinberg in her book The Balance Within, feeling stressed makes us sick; the hormones we produce during stress interfere with immune cells and their ability to cope with the disease. Reframing our perception of stress and using it to our advantage, adopting lifestyle and dietary changes are all part of building more excellent mental, emotional, and physical resilience.
What does being resilient mean?
Resilience means being able to push through and rebound after a challenge. Ability to regulate emotions, feel a sense of confidence and control, adopt practical coping skills, and know when to lean on social support. (verywellmind.com)
How can I build resilience?
Modern living comes with increased social, physical, and environmental pressures, requiring us to take extra care by eating well, getting enough sleep, and figuring out the best way to manage stress and balancing a hectic work life with quiet reflection through meditation, yoga, and spending more time in nature.
Biochemistry of mood
According to research published in the Journal of Neuro-Psychiatry, standard pharmacology and psychotherapy provide help about 50 % of the time.  An alternative and more personalized approach that includes lifestyle and diet may lead to better outcomes for many.
The body produces neurotransmitters and hormones such as serotonin, dopamine, GABA, and cortisol that influence our mental and emotional state throughout life. The raw materials for these processes are amino acids, B vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
Serotonin is responsible for your happiness, well-being, and mood stability. It also helps regulate your sleep cycle and your appetite.
Dopamine is known as the feel-good neurotransmitter. It’s also essential for memory and motor skills. It acts like a reward, and the brain releases it when we do things we love, like eating our favorite foods.
GABA is a calming neurotransmitter. Neurons produce GABA in the brain and bacteria in the gut; it helps promote sleep, relieve anxiety, and protect the brain.
Oxytocin is produced when a baby is born, helps to make breast milk, and fosters a bond between mom and baby. Our bodies also produce oxytocin when we're excited by our sexual partners and fall in love. That's why it is called the "love hormone."
Cortisol, Epinephrine, and Nor-Epinephrine are released by the adrenal glands when we feel stressed. While cortisol benefits us in the short term to escape a stressor, prolonged high cortisol levels reduce serotonin production, elevate blood sugar and blood pressure, reduce our ability to fight infections, and increase fat storage in the body.[1,2]
Role of the gut-brain axis
The Gut-Brain Axis describes a cross-talk between the gut and the brain. Bacteria in the gut are involved in producing neurotransmitters that influence brain health. The book Psychobiotic Revolution by Scott Anderson clearly describes how poor gut health compromises brain function, increasing our susceptibility to stress, anxiety, and depression.[3,4,5,6,7,8].
5 Ways to Build More Resilience
1. SELF CARE
Do things that you love, make you happy, and bring you joy! Like listening to music, dancing, taking a bath, creating a new recipe, and doing something kind for others.
2. CREATE A COMMUNITY
Developing a social network is essential for health and well-being. Humans are social animals and depend on cooperation to survive and thrive. Not having people around for support has been linked to depressive symptoms and other mental illnesses. The feeling of loneliness increases one’s tendency to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, among other conditions.
3. SPEND TIME IN NATURE: REWILD YOURSELF
Spending time in nature dramatically benefits our brains. An article by Jim Robbins, Ecopsychology: How Immersion in Nature helps your health covers several studies on the benefits of nature for our mood and our immune system. In Japan, “forest bathing” research into the connection between humans and nature showed that simply walking in the woods improves immune health.
Exercise just makes you feel good and people suffering from anxiety and other mood disorders can experience a significant improvement [9,10,11]
5. EAT HEALTHFULLY
Be mindful of what and how you eat! Enjoy organic food whenever possible; eat whole foods, balanced meals, good fats, fruits, and vegetables rich in prebiotics and polyphenols. Eat meals while sitting and at the dining table, and don’t rush through eating. Always set your phone and computer aside in another room. [12,13,14]
Good Nutrition Holds the Key
Lack of good nutrition interferes with the treatment and recovery of mood disorders. Improving nutritional status should be part of any regimen to alleviate anxiety and depression. The Western diet high in fat and sugar increases inflammation and leaky gut syndrome with detrimental effects on brain health, including cognitive decline and damage to the blood-brain barrier.
Researchers have observed that adherence to the Mediterranean diet high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes with moderate consumption of poultry, eggs, and dairy products; and only occasional consumption of red meat is associated with a reduced risk of depression 
Probiotics are live bacteria that line your digestive tract; they create an environment in the gut where greater diversity enhances nutrient absorption. Lactospore, for example, is a spore biotic included in a dietary supplement Stress Resilience by KAIBAE that boosts the production of your beneficial bacteria and has been verified by research to reduce irritable bowel syndrome and symptoms of stress and depression that accompany this digestive disorder.
Prebiotic fiber can be found in fruits and vegetables in various amounts; prebiotic fiber is found in abundance in Baobab fruit powder, for example. Prebiotic fiber increases the good bacteria in the gut. Research at the University of Boulder on prebiotics found that it reaches beyond the heart and supports better sleep and improved resilience to stress.
Adaptogens are herbs that help balance our stress response. Stress Resilience by KAIBAE offers the proprietary blend that combines Baobab prebiotic and rich in polyphenols with Sceletium (Kanna), is wild-harvested in South Africa and traditionally used by the San and Khoikhoi people to calm the mind and induce a state of serenity. Magnolia bark contains active compounds magnolol and honokiol with anxiolytic and mood-elevating properties. Ashwagandha is an anxiolytic and stress reliever. It improves total sleep time and quality, enhances testosterone levels and upper and lower body strength, and benefits athletic performance and recovery after exercise.
Modern living comes with increased mental, emotional and physical pressures. Living disconnected from the natural environment makes us more vulnerable and susceptible to negative stressors. This requires that we build our resilience by adopting healthy habits starting with diet and lifestyle and supporting a healthy microbiome that allows us to be resilient and thrive!
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